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Hutchcraft addresses King Ranch issues

June 12, 2019
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Mitch Hutchcraft, vice president of real estate for King Ranch/Consolidated Citrus, offered a slide presentation about the company at the Greater Pine Island Civic Association's June meeting last Tuesday night, June 4.

King Ranch is the largest ranch in Texas with 824,000 acres. It is also the 8th largest private landowner in the U.S. The ranch was founded by Capt. Richard King in 1853 as a cattle ranch and today is a diversified company of cattle, horses, sugar cane, sod and palm trees.

King Ranch/Con-solidated Citrus owns approximately 80,000 acres in Florida with three properties on Pine Island totaling approximately 350 acres. The first acquisition on Pine Island was Soaring Eagle.

"In citrus production, King ranks nationally probably in the top three almost all of that is juice," Hutchcraft said. "In Florida we used to be the largest citrus producer now we're second. Alico has made some acquisitions and in acreage they are bigger than we are.

The company also produces oil and gas, citrus, cotton, milo, turf grass, winter corn, vegetables and lots more.

"Many of the people on Pine Island first learned about King Ranch with our first purchase on the island Soaring Eagle," Hutchcraft said. "Then some became concerned because we filed a request for an administrative interpretation. The purpose of an administrative Interpretation is to clarify an ambiguous statute and at the time we wanted to know how the rules would be applied to our purchases and thought it was a prudent thing to do."

According to Hutchcraft, the backlash from the community following the purchase of Soaring Eagle and additional properties on Pine Island was overwhelming and some claims against King Ranch were untrue.

Hutchcraft stated that King Ranch wants to maintain the character and vision of Pine Island.

"I believe in the character and the vision that Pine island has established," Hutchcraft said. "We continue to operate as a palm tree nursery and have no plans as a developer. If anything, we are considering consolidating the St. James property into the Bokeelia property."

7-Eleven update

A brief update about the new 7-Eleven was provided by Noel Andress. Although the building is almost finished the accel/decel lanes on Pine Island Road have not been started. Andress explained that 7-Eleven can not open the store until everything, including the accel/decel lanes are completed.

Additional business

GPICA members voted to begin all future meetings at 6:30 p.m. There was also a vote to change the bylaws regarding the dissolution of GPICA. The new resolution reads: "Upon dissolution of the GPICA by at least two-thirds vote of the BOD and ratified by at least a two-thirds vote of the membership, all assets shall become the property of the Calusa Land Trust and Nature Preserve of Pine Island, Inc. The vote was 25 2 in favor.

 
 

 

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